Off

'Off' is often mixed with 'of' which is pretty normal but note that they are very different. In this lesson, we will learn all about 'off.'

How to use "Off" in English?

'Off' is sometimes confused with 'of', but you should keep in mind that they are totally different. To be able to distinguish their difference, follow this lesson.

Functions of 'Off'

1. 'Off' as a Preposition

Use

'Off' as the preposition is used before nouns to describe a relation between the noun to another element of the sentence. This is the list of the contexts in which 'off' is used:

  • 'Off' shows separation, distance, or removal.

I cut a slice off the cake.

The ball bounced off the wall.

  • 'Off' shows the money, food, energy, etc., supplied by someone or something.

She used to live off his parents.

She lives off the land.

She makes money through lending or cultivating on her land.

  • 'Off' shows the object of an action.

I bought a book off him.

I borrowed a book off him.

from

  • 'Off' shows the source or cause of something.

He spends the money he obtained off gambling.

  • 'Off' shows something is below the usual standard or level of something else.

He is off his game.

He does not play as always.

I asked him to knock $200 off the price.

Position in a Sentence

'Off' as the preposition is used before nouns or pronouns to establish a relationship between two nouns.

I asked him to knock $100 off the price.

I bought a book off him.

2. 'Off' as an Adverb

Use

'Off' as the adverb is used to describe a verb and adds some meaning to it. Here is the list of situations in which you can use 'off.'

  • 'Off' shows away from a place.

The cat ran off.

The motorcycle sped off.

  • 'Off' shows something that moves or is moved and it is no longer attached to something.

His hat fell off.

The letter rolled off.

  • 'Off' shows the state of into sleep.

I dozed off in the chair.

He drifted off on the couch.

  • 'Off' is used to describe a state to stop something.

Shut the water off.

Turn the tv off.

  • 'Off' is used to describe a state to finish something.

We paid it off.

Finish it off right now.

  • 'Off' shows away from regular work.

I took the day off.

Steve, take time off for lunch.

Position in a Sentence

'Off' as the adverb is used to modify the verb, so it usually comes after the verb. Notice that the difference between the preposition 'off' and the adverb 'off' is that the preposition takes a noun.

The cat ran off.

'Off' adds a new meaning to the verb 'ran.'

Shut the water off.

3. 'Off' as an Adjective

Use

'Off' as the adjective is also known as the subject complement as it comes after the linking verb 'be'. Take a look:

  • 'Off' shows not attached to or covering something.

The lid is off.

  • 'Off' shows not operating, functioning, or flowing.

The electricity is off.

The water of this park is off.

  • 'Off' shows something that someone is no longer doing or using.

She is off smoking.

The officers were off duty.

  • 'Off' shows someone who is away from home or work.

She is off today.

I called you but you were off.

  • 'Off' as an adjective has a similar meaning to 'not correct' in the informal American English.

Your answer is way off.

These words are off.

  • 'Off' shows something is below the usual price or value.

Home appliances are off today.

This shirt is 10% off.

  • 'Off' means not as good as usual.

My math is off today.

  • 'Off' as an adjective can be used to describe something, usually food, is no longer fresh, spoiled.

The milk is off. Don't take it.

The fish is a bit off. I don't want it.

Off + Noun

'Off' as the adjective can be used before nouns as well in two cases:
1. to indicate a very low degree, synonymous with 'slight'

There is an off chance that you go there.

2. 'Off' also come before a noun to indicate not as busy or active as other periods of time.

We go on holiday during the off season.

Position in a Sentence

'Off' as an adjective is either used before a noun to describe it or as a subject complement to complete the meaning of the linking verb 'be.'

We go on holiday during the off season.

'Off' comes before the noun 'season.'

This shirt is 10% off.

'Off' is the subject complement.

4. 'Off' as a Verb

Use

'Off' as the verb is used in American English to indicate to kill or murder (someone).

The gangster wants to off him.

Position in a Sentence

'Off' as the verb stands after the subject to indicate someone kills someone else.

She has decided to off her rivals.

Tip

'Off' as the noun is used in the American English to indicate the beginning of something like:
I knew from the off, she loved me.

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